GameCareerGuide has just posted a new student postmortem of BOUND
, a two-player cooperative touchscreen game developed at the Technical University of Dresden.
The game was developed for the system on which it’s played -- essentially, two desks facing one another with touchscreens -- rather than merely as an abstract design concept.
This arcade-like system is used mostly at trade shows, which meant the student game developers also had to design a game that would entice people to play when they only had a few minutes to spare.
The system itself was actually developed in a previous semester by students at the university.
In this excerpt from the article, author Sina Jafarzadeh, a media and computer science student, explains the game development scenario:
“An important part of the task was to analyze the given system and identify its strengths -- and equally important, its weaknesses. Additionally, the use cases and potential users had to be considered. Given those requirements, it is not unreasonable to draw comparisons between this project and game development for consoles.
The system itself can be described as a desk with two touchscreens facing each other. Both screens are single-touch, which is of course a restriction, and both are connected to the same PC. The screen is cloned for both touchscreens so that both users see the same screen all the time.
Since the system is relatively new and no specific use case or use place is defined by the chair, the most sensible ones have been considered. One idea we had was to place the system in the faculty’s cafeteria. The system is actually most often used in special one-day, tradeshow-like events for the faculty.
What both use cases have in common is that the potential users do not have much time to interact with the system, and most of the time there are more potential users than two, waiting to be able to interact with the system. Because the users have likely never seen or touched this particular system before, it is quite important to develop software that promotes brief and not too complicated interactions, which can also attract other potential users.
If the software is a game, it is important to design a game with a simple but fun gameplay with a short play time. Furthermore, the gameplay and the visuals need to be interesting not only for the players, but for the spectators as well, whetting their appetites to play, too. The most obvious genre of game that fits all this criteria is arcade games.
One other important design idea was to create a cooperative game and enhance the communication between both players using their physical proximity. The advantage of a cooperative game is that even a weak player can play with a good player and have fun, instead of feeling frustrated. Nevertheless a weak player can frustrate the good player in a cooperative game, if the stronger player cannot help the weak one out of tricky situations.”
To read about how Jafarzadeh and his game development partner resolved these issues and see screenshots of the game they produced, see the postmortem of student title BOUND